Dodgers 9, Angels 8

A.J. Ellis hit a grand slam against Jason Vargas for his first
homer of the spring, Luis Cruz doubled home two runs and the Los
Angeles Dodgers beat the Angels 9-8 Friday night in their
next-to-last game of spring training.

Josh Beckett threw 80 pitches over four innings to get the win
despite giving up seven runs on nine hits, including a three-run
homer by Mike Trout and a two-run shot by Albert Callaspo.

Beckett is about to embark on his first full season with the
Dodgers after coming over from Boston in a blockbuster nine-player
trade on Aug. 25. He finished the spring 0-1 with a 10.12 ERA in
five starts – including five home runs – and surrendered 14 earned
runs in eight innings over his final two outings. His season debut
will be Wednesday night against the World Series champion San
Francisco Giants.

Paco Rodriguez got his second save of the exhibition season,
facing one batter and throwing a called third strike past
pinch-hitter Luis Jimenez with runners at second and third after
Brandon League gave up an infield RBI single by Andrew Romine.

Vargas threw 60 pitches in just 1 1-2 innings, giving up eight
runs and seven hits. The 30-year-old lefty, who joined the Angels
in a trade that sent slugging first baseman and DH Kendrys Morales
to the Seattle Mariners on Dec. 19, finished spring training 0-1
with a 7.54 ERA in six starts. His season debut will be next Friday
afternoon at Texas.

Albert Pujols opened the scoring with a first-inning RBI single,
his ninth RBI of the spring, but the Dodgers responded with five
runs in the bottom half. Matt Kemp hit an RBI double and Ellis
drove a 2-1 fastball over the center field fence after a two-out
walk to Andre Ethier. Ellis hit 13 home runs last season, his first
as the Dodgers’ regular catcher.

Callaspo reduced the Angels’ deficit to 5-3 in the second with a
two-run homer into the lower seats in the right field corner, but
the Dodgers extended the margin to 8-3 with three in the bottom
half.

Shortstop Erick Aybar drifted under a flyball to short right
field by Adrian Gonzalez with one out and runners at first and
second, dropping the ball after waving off the oncoming Mark
Trumbo.

Aybar was able to get the force at third on Carl Crawford as
Beckett crossed the plate – eliciting an argument between Angels
manager Mike Scioscia and third base umpire Alfonso Marquez, who
would not rule it an infield fly. Gonzalez ended up at first base
and scored behind Kemp on a two-run double by Cruz that Trumbo
missed on a leaping attempt at the fence. That was all for
Vargas.

Josh Hamilton’s edged the Angels closer with an opposite-field
RBI double in the third, and they narrowed the gap to 8-7 in the
fourth with Trout’s homer into the lower stands in the left field
corner. It was only the second of the spring for last season’s AL
rookie of the year, who has 13 RBIs in 57 at-bats.

The Dodgers got their ninth run with two out in the seventh when
Trumbo camped under Andre Ethier’s lazy flyball in short left field
and shortstop Romine banged into him, knocking the ball loose and
allowing Cruz to score all the way from first base.

NOTES: Vargas allowed 35 homers last season, tying him for the
second-most allowed in the majors. … Pujols has three home runs
this spring. He hit seven during spring training last year, his
first with the Angels, then went homerless in his first 27
regular-season games before breaking through on May 6 in his 111th
at-bat – ending a career-worst drought to start a season. The
three-time NL MVP finished with 30, his lowest total in 12 big
league campaigns.